In the system of Reiki there are few meditation techniques (also known simply as breathing techniques). Two of these techniques are important for the practice of Shoden, the first degree of Reiki. These two techniques are easy to learn, simple to practice, and yet they’re very important and they bring many benefits over long periods of self-practice. In this article, you will learn both the Gassho meditation and the Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation.
The following text and illustration comes from my first degree Reiki manual, an illustrated guidebook explaining the practical aspects of the first Reiki degree. The book can be purchased as a Kindle edition and paperback on Amazon: Learn Reiki Shoden.
The “Gassho” itself is a mudra from Buddhist tradition. A mudra is a way to form your hands in a specific way to achieve a specific spiritual effect. This practice of mudras originates from Hindu and Buddhist practices. The Gassho mudra is used to work with a person’s heart chakra, and it is associated with Buddha Amida (Buddha Amitaba), the Buddha of Forgiveness and Compassion. We talk about Gassho meditation because, in this practice, we meditate with our hands formed in the Gassho mudra. Regular practice of the Gassho meditation awakens the inner spiritual virtue of compassion towards all living beings. In a way, through the practice of the Gassho, you awakens your inner compassion, and you recognize the true heart of the entire Reiki path.
The Gassho meditation is used to bring peace of mind and learn how to breathe and how to focus. All these things are important in the practice of Reiki and generally on the path of spiritual growth. There are three aspects to Gassho meditation – the right body, the right breath and the right mind. Mastering them all results in a successful and effective meditation.
The very first thing that we need is the right body. In this meditation, we can sit either in Seiza or in Lotus position. The first one is a classical Japanese sitting position, and the Lotus is the classic Buddhist meditation pose. An image of these two poses has been posted in a previous article about Reiki meditation.
The spine should be straight – but don’t be too harsh on yourself. The European culture these days make our spines unsuitable for Seiza or Lotus for longer periods of time. Thus, don’t be afraid to support your back with a wall, for example. You should find balance between straight back and comfort because, in the end, you should remain relaxed.
The breathing requires some explanation, as well. You should be breathing in through your nose, and while you do so, you should touch your palate with your tongue, just behind your teeth. According to Chinese traditions, this connects the back and front energy channels (meridians) of the body, an important aspect of meditation. You can breath out through your mouth while allowing your tongue to relax.
Your breath should be natural and comfortable, but slow and steady. Don’t force yourself to breathe as slow as possible. Simple allow yourself to breathe naturally. While doing so, try to breathe silently, but again, don’t force yourself. Practice a bit, and find your natural rhythm.
Your mind is the last element of the practice. While breathing and meditating, thoughts of a different sort will come to your conscious mind. The trick is to allow them to pass through. Think of your mind like of a big TV screen – thoughts come in, and they remain there for few seconds or minutes, and finally, they go away. Then, another thought come in, and the situation repeats itself. But what’s wonderful is that if you do not rush things, and if you do not try to get rid of the thoughts, but you simple acknowledge them and let them be, they disappear on their own.
This is the secret of the Gassho meditation – acknowledgment of thoughts while letting them simply be. The spiritual truth says:
When you fight with something, you make it stronger. If you let it go, it is gone.
Don’t fight with your thoughts, and they will find their way out of your mind on their own. Just like that. This may takes weeks, months or even years, but eventually, it will happen, and the nature of your mind will be revealed to you.
Thoughts are like a cat – if you chase him, he will do everything in its power to come back because it is curious. But simple observe the cat, and it will hang around for a while, get bored and leave on its own. The very same thing applies to thoughts – observe them, and after hanging around for a while, they will go away.
Now, to the meditation itself.
This completes the Gassho meditation. I suggest that it should take you 15 minutes to complete if you’re a beginner. With time and experience, or just with an intention to do so, you can expand the meditation to longer periods of time.
Congratulations! You’ve learned the art of Gassho meditation. You can practice this meditation every day, or at least three times a day. After few months, you will notice that your mind is much calmer, and unwanted thoughts aren’t attacking you as they used to.
You should continue this practice on regular basics in the future as a mean of mind hygiene – we are being attacked by thoughts all over the time, they form in our head constantly. Through regular practice, we allow the current events to pass through our mind and never to bother us again. After a stressful day, it’s a good idea to meditate for at least 15 minutes – this way, you will put the negative emotions and memories aside. By letting them seek your attention, you allow them to disappear. This is the true power of meditation.
This is another form of meditation that you should learn. Joshin Kokyu Ho has at least two important effects. First, it can be used to improve the way you channel Reiki energy by opening and cleansing your energy channels. With time and practice, your skills of channeling Reiki become stronger. Second, this meditation is an important grounding practice that will build a foundation for your further spiritual development. You cannot build a house by starting with the roof – you have to build the foundation first. The very same thing applies to any spiritual practice – you have to build a strong connection with the Earth and physical world so that the winds of spiritual forces won’t blow you away.
The Practice of Joshin Kokyu Ho is a way to strengthen your connection with Reiki. Through this practice, you cleanse and strengthen the primary energy channel, through which Reiki flows to you and through you. Thus, regular practice makes you an even better Reiki practitioner.
At least two elements are important in this meditation and they need to be explained – first, the mudra of balance, and second, the region of your body known as Hara or the first Tan T’ien. The Tan T’ien is a term used in Chinese magical systems and Taoist philosophy. There are three of such Tan T’iens, one in your navel, another one near your heart, and the third one within your head. They are connected by two energy channels, creating something that is called a “ microcosmic orbit”.
The Mudra of balance is quite popular in Buddhist practices. While it is not the mudra of grounding, it symbolizes the balance, harmony between the physical and spiritual realm. Something that Joshin Kokyu Ho promotes.
Another important element is the Hara region – also known as the first Tan T”ien. It is a region few centimeters below your belly button, and another few centimeters inside your body. According to the Chinese school of thought, this is a place that governs all life energies, or Chi. It promotes a healthy physical body, and deep connection with the ground.
With this knowledge, you’re ready to begin the practice.
This meditation is based on direct work with Reiki energy and intentions.
This completes the Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation. An important aspect of this exercise is the final focus on the Hara region. While you can expand the primary meditation for longer periods of time, the final focus should always be present, but it doesn’t have to take longer and five minutes if you do not wish to.
You have learned the Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation. You should practice it at least twice a week for the next few months after your initiation to the first degree of Reiki, but if you wish, then no matter what degree you’re on, you can come back and practice this meditation. You can practice it especially when you feel you’re losing ground under your feet and if you feel you’re falling into the spiritual world too much.